Knocked down in the final round of his National Elite Senior Championships final, the Newry welterweight recovered to see out the win against Tony McGlynn and now the Holy Family Drogheda fighter approaches the biggest night in his fighting career promising to rise to the occasion.
The 2016 Intermediate 64kg champion faces a final against much-touted Oughterard fighter Kieran Molloy, live on RTÉ 2, and is completely at ease heading into the decider.
The TV cameras, a packed National Stadium, the biggest prize in Irish boxing – nothing about the platform worries McKeever.
“I’ve never been on something like that, but I always rise to the occasion every time at a big event,” the 20-year-old promised.
He credits this approach for getting him through an unexpected trip to the canvas on Friday night.
“You just have to overcome it,” McKeever reflected.
“You’re in the moment, you can’t change it, I just got up and showed that I wasn’t hurt, went in for an exchange, and the fight came to an end.”
“The third round, I was well in control. I just got caught, it was more of a push shot than a ‘bang’ shot”
“There was nothing that rattled me, nothing that fazed me during the fight.”
Looking back on the semi-final with Crumlin’s McGlynn, McKeever described how “I knew it was going to be a game of chess from the start, two counter-punching styles.”
“I just wanted to keep him under pressure, keep feinting, throwing, pushing him back, keep the fight busier than just a few punches a round.”
McKeever will need all this coolness, and more, on Saturday night against Galway’s Molloy.
The Ulster boxer though is feeling good ahead of the final and his first meeting with his touted opponent.
McKeever outlined how “I’m not familiar with him, obviously I’ve knowledge of him, but we always missed each other across the weights coming up.”
“I’m pretty confident going into the final. I’m looking forward to it.”
Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)